5 keys to developing IT talent in a hybrid work model

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Developing IT talent is more important than ever, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to do.

the hybrid working model – and all the logistical and interpersonal issues that result from it – have exacerbated the challenges surrounding the development of IT talent, as organizations struggle to maintain a sense of oneness within a growing workforce. more disparate. That’s why organizational leaders, including CIOs, need to be committed to developing IT talent in ways that ensure high retention.

The talent war, the Great Resignation, digital transformation and the work-from-home model have all made IT talent development critically important – and more difficult to do, said Michael Eichenwald, Senior Customer Partner at Korn Ferry. , an organizational consulting firm based in Los Angeles, California. Hybrid and remote working models in particular place more emphasis on deliberate and proactive design of talent development.

Here are some tips for successfully developing IT talent.

1. Don’t over-sell or under-deliver

The employer brand is an important component of recruitment. But when the employer brand and its related field recruitment marketing are not accurate, they cause turnover.

Often, the employer brand sends a message that companies think candidates want to hear, rather than what it’s really like to work for that organization, said Chason Hecht, CEO of Retensa, a New York-based consulting firm that helps organizations develop and implement retention. strategies.

“Then in a week, a month, a year, the new recruit understands: ‘this is not a place where I can really develop new skills because I work 60 hours a week to put out fires” “, a- he declared. .

To keep the employer brand up to date, Hecht suggests that companies follow these steps:

  • Contact current IT employees through an electronic suggestion box.
  • Ask them: In what areas are we good at computer science?
  • Train hiring managers to discuss these responses with candidates and discuss workplace realities during the recruiting phase.

“If you can communicate a message about what you are good at conveying [as an employer], you’re going to find people who will stick around for the long haul, ”Hecht said.

2. Be intentional with hybrid integration

One of the challenges of integration in the hybrid workplace is that new recruits do not always have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with their organization on an informal basis.

With so many people continuing to work from home, there are fewer occasional integration opportunities, Hecht said. For example, managers can’t attract new hires to a face-to-face meeting at the last minute just because it gives them a great opportunity to see how things are going or to have lunch in person with their coworkers.

For this reason, companies must be intentional when it comes to integration. They can also look for virtual opportunities that accomplish the same goals when possible.

Being intentional doesn’t mean just sending the new recruit an integration-focused PowerPoint deck and other material to go through on their own, Hecht pointed out. This approach is the “kiss of death”. Instead, organizations should be deliberate in planning presentations, meetings, and collaborative sessions involving all of the stakeholders the recruit will be working with. The goal of these sessions should be to engage the new employee, communicate relevant information that will help them do their job well, and give them the opportunity to start building relationships with their colleagues.

“We have to insert the intersections for growth, and we have to create them intentionally,” Hecht said.

It’s harder in a hybrid world, but the cost of not doing it – and relying solely on PowerPoint decks and similar approaches instead – can negatively affect retention, Hecht said.

3. Create specific career path options

With technology playing an increasingly important role in the conduct of business, developing IT talent is essential. Organizations should promote the continuous development of technological skills, as well as strong leadership skills to keep succession planning in mind.

“We need to [invest in developing] technology leaders [who] can really lead teams and help lead organizations, ”said Eichenwald.

Building strong IT teams with diverse skills, it must be remembered that each employee is unique, however with unique goals. Not all IT professionals want to lead a team of people.

Some IT professionals look for opportunities to develop the skills that will enable them to become a specialist or expert in a specific discipline, said Fiona Mark, senior analyst at Forrester Research. For example, some IT workers may want to become experts in JavaScript or another coding language. Smart businesses are finding ways to support this.

The advantage is twofold, said Mark. Supporting employees’ unique career paths boosts internal retention and can serve as a differentiator that gives an organization a competitive advantage in the job market.

Helping an employee gain a reputation as a guru in a certain specialty requires a certain investment. For example, Mark said that such support can take the following form:

  • allow the employee to devote a certain percentage of his time to developing his brand as an expert in the field;
  • encourage the employee and even help him organize face-to-face meetings (when it is safe to do so) or speaking engagements focused on his specialty; and
  • allocate resources and space to host career development missions.

Investing in the growth and development of IT employee specialties can pay off.

There is a significant opportunity for IT organizations to invest more in evaluating their employees and understanding their leadership skills. [and] what drives them in their work.

Michel EichenwaldMain Customer Partner, Korn Ferry

“Raise this person within the [developer community, for example] is great for that person – they have their own individual brand and they are building their network, ”she said.“ But it’s also great for the organization as they have built in attracting and retaining talent. “

As that individual’s network expands, their access to IT talent interested in working for a company that encourages its employees to grow not only within the organization but also outside of it. , stretches, said Mark.

4. Invest in reviews

In order to shape IT career paths that will serve both individuals and organizations, it is essential to identify the skills required to accomplish these activities and the personality traits that best match them. This means that organizations must invest in evaluation.

“There is a significant opportunity for IT organizations to invest more in evaluating their employees and understanding their leadership skills. [and] what motivates them in their work, ”said Eichenwald.

Traditionally, evaluation dollars have not been allocated to IT departments in a meaningful way because IT leaders have not been viewed as future senior executives capable of running the business. It is a mistake.

“There is a need to have a proactive conversation led by IT professionals with their HR partners to ensure that they are getting their fair share of this spending budget,” said Eichenwald.

5. Position IT as a hub

One of the challenges that many IT professionals face is the lack of opportunities to work on projects that they see as meaningful to their organization. Instead, most of their job is to “keep the lights on”: make sure technical systems are working properly, and troubleshoot and fix things when the technology fails. Being overlooked is a more likely danger in a work-from-home or hybrid model.

Organizations that view IT as a central part of the organization are the best environments for developing IT talent, said Kevin Haskew, senior facilitator and executive coach at Ouellette & Associates Consulting, a specific professional development services company at IT based in Bedford, New Hampshire. IT strategy supports business strategy.

When alignment between business and IT exists, there is the potential for a true partnership that can truly lead to business change, Haskew said.

IT growth opportunities are key to retention

Financial compensation remains an important part of recruitment and retention, Eichenwald said. Equally important, however, is giving IT professionals the opportunity to grow.

“Organizations need to look within themselves and ask themselves: are they really creating places where people can do the best job of their lives because of the meaning of the job, the challenge available and the work environment they are doing. have created ? ” he said. “And if they’re not, they’re going to run the risk of their ability to retain the talent they want – and [run the risk that] the people who choose to stay are not the people they want to move the organization forward into the future. “

About the Author
Carolyn Heinze is a freelance writer and editor living in Paris. It covers many topics including technology and business.


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